Indigenous health fellowships awarded
This year the Rowan Nicks Russell Drysdale Fellows share more than a passion for improving Indigenous health and welfare, they also coincidentally share a surname. Louise Lawler from Dubbo and Sarita Lawler from Brisbane have been named as the 2005
Rowan Nicks Sir Russell Drysdale Fellows.
This Fellowship represents a significant investment by Rowan Nicks and the Sir Russell Drysdale family toward the improvement of the health and welfare of Australian Indigenous communities.
The aim of the Fellowship is to support those committed to making a significant contribution to Australian Indigenous health and welfare and to support the development of future leaders in this area. The Fellowship is available to fund either projects or activities that will serve indigenous communities or to fund individuals wishing to undertake training or education. The eligibility criteria for the Fellowship have been kept deliberately broad to give the maximum number of people an opportunity to apply.
“The fellowship program is very flexible in form”, says Suzanne Everett, Rural and Indigenous Liaison Officer at the Faculty of Medicine. “We were pleased with the number of very strong proposals and the range of proposed activities. In the end it was a very difficult decision as all the proposals showed a real understanding of the issues and addressed areas of need with viable plans and budgets. Ultimately the successful candidates were judged on the degree to which their proposal delivered sustainable outcomes for the communities with whom they would be working.”
This year two Fellowships were awarded. Dr Louise Lawler will be appointed to the School of Rural Health, Dubbo campus. Her project focuses on the retention of young male Indigenous high school students between ages of 14-17. The project aims to develop a non-mainstream curriculum for students ‘at risk’ which will assist them in gaining skills relevant to securing sustainable employment. Louise had already successfully engaged the boys, the school as well as the wider community in Dubbo before the awarding of the Fellowship.
Miss Sarita Lawler will be undertaking her Fellowship as a fully funded student in the Faculty of Health Sciences studying a Master of Sexual Health. Sarita identified the need for education in sexual health while working at Katherine High School. Even though working within the school environment gave her access to this community, Sarita felt she needed more skills to address this critical health issue. Sarita identified this Masters program as highly suited to her needs and upon completion of her degree Sarita will return to Katherine.
Artwork by Andrew Taylor, with thanks to the Koori Centre, University of Sydney.